Explain the concept and purpose of a marketing decision support system.
A decision support system (DSS) makes data instantly available to marketing managers and allows them to manipulate the data themselves to make marketing decisions. Four characteristics make DSSs especially useful to marketing managers: They are interactive, flexible, discovery oriented, and accessible. That is, they give managers access to information immediately and without outside assistance, they allow users to manipulate data in a variety of ways and to answer "what if" questions, and they are accessible to novice computer users.
- Interactive: Managers give simple instructions and see immediate results. The process is under their direct control; no computer programmer is needed. Managers don't have to wait for scheduled reports.
- Flexible: A DSS can sort, regroup, total, average, and manipulate the data in various ways. It will shift gears as the user changes topics, matching information to the problem at hand. For example, the CEO can see highly aggregated figures, and the marketing analyst can view very detailed breakouts.
- Discovery-oriented: Managers can probe for trends, isolate problems, and ask "what if questions.
- Accessible: Managers who aren't skilled with computers can easily learn how to use a DSS. Novice users should be able to choose a standard, or default, method of using the system. They can bypass optional features so they can work with the basic system right away while gradually learning to apply its advanced features.
In the absence of company problems, is there any reason to develop a marketing DSS?